a terrible blight on our fine country
i know it\'s over and oh it never really began but in m
4/10/2008 - Michigan 4, Notre Dame 5 (OT) - end of season
During Billy Sauer's period of extreme incompetence at the beginning of his sophomore season, I figured out which of the parents in the Michigan section was Sauer's mother. There were hints -- she always sat next to a woman in a Sauer jersey, for one -- but the key "this is definitely her" event came when I made a sarcastic remark about Sauer and her head whipped around to identify the offender. We kept the volume of our sarcastic remarks down thereafter.
Our prior restraint was soon unnecessary. The sarcastic comments stopped once Sauer first reached competence and then exceeded it, but the presence of Sauer's mother remained something of a burden. Though I don't know what anyone else's parents look like except those of Jack Johnson -- for obvious reasons -- and Scooter Vaughn -- for equally obvious reasons -- I imagine they come off as less... severe.
Jack Johnson's dad had the time of his life at each and every game. While Mrs. Sauer may be a vibrant woman in the course of her everyday activities, at Yost she's always seemed grim and sad. This probably says more about being the mother of a goalie than her. I have made a mental note to never let hypothetical children of mine guard anything other hypothetical children are supposed to put balls or pucks past.
I find attempting to analyze hockey impossible. Football is discrete and measurable. It lends itself to charts. Basketball is in the early stages of a tempo-free statistical realignment. And baseball is a stat heaven. Statistically-minded hockey fans are out of luck. NHL fans can find shift-chart data and make some calculations about even-strength goals for and against. The next step is to take a player's opposition into account and normalize for strength of schedule, resulting in... a vague idea that a player is kinda good when averaged across hundreds of minutes. The idea of analyzing a single game is absurd. Pucks bounce.
The INCH podcast previewing the Frozen Four brought this point home. I listened to it and thought their analysis was pretty stupid, then attempted to improve it mentally, then failed at that, then was enraged by their Hockey East knob attempting to justify a Gerbe Hobey because "every great player" spears opponents to get an edge.
In contrast, I spent the week before the Ohio State game predicting that Vernon Gholston would obliterate Steve Schilling and Beanie Wells would grind out 200 yards on an excessive number of carries; this was (unfortunately) exactly right. But it's not the exactly right bit that matters: it's impossible to make a statement of that specificity about a hockey game without being ridiculous.
What are you supposed to say? "Watch out if Sauer lets in an early goal, freaks out, and lets in two goals so horrible you nickname them 'Nickelback' and 'Creed' because the furious comeback the team mounts in the next half-hour will see them tie the game but cost them their legs and cause them to lose in overtime"?
Hockey is a bitch, and makes the observer feel helpless. The observer is always helpless -- this is the definition of "observer" on a non-quantum level -- but the random number generator that produces goals emphasizes the general bloody-mindedness of the universe. If all sports fandom is a form of emotional gambling, football is poker and hockey is roulette. In the NCAA tournament said roulette comes with a gun and the appellation "Russian" -- how apropos -- and I'm terrified. Every time. I cannot function.
So I understand Billy Sauer pretty well, I think. I empathize. I wish I didn't.
We were exiting the arena in a herded mass, attempting to come to grips with what just happened. I saw a woman in a Sauer jersey ahead and was just perceiving the import of that, picking out the woman I've seen at Yost for three years, when I heard one of the people I was with sum up his opinion of the game.
She's probably overheard her share of nasty comments. She's definitely heard me say something meaner. This one was worse because it was matter-of-fact, evenly delivered, and indisputably true. It lacked hyperbole, utterly.
"Sauer dug them a hole they couldn't get out of."
She turned around. Her eyes looked bloodshot and tired as she scanned for the offender, then she gave up and moved off into the crowd with her husband.
- Remember how I spent a month advocating Notre Dame's inclusion in the tourney before the seventh and/or eighth WCHA team? Nevermind, bring on Mankato.
- I didn't have a great angle on the third ND goal, the backhand one, and kinda thought it might have picked out the top corner. Not so much:
- For both semifinal games the NCAA put the pep bands on the other side of the arena from their fans. WTF?
- North Dakota fans made a very strong showing; too bad their team did not follow suit. They had more fans than any other school, and even after getting housed a lot stuck around for the late game. Just about every BC fan left.
- I don't think I have to tell anyone this, but: as long as Jeff Jackson is around at Notre Dame they're going to be a good team. Jackson turned Dave Poulin's rag-tag bunch of losers into a tourney team and is now recruiting on a level better than anyone in the league save Michigan. He's 53.
- So we've got a decade of regular tourney appearances by ND on the docket. Miami's got a new Goggin and will not be going away any time soon. (Carter Camper say what!) The era of the Big Two and Little Ten in the CCHA is over, and not a moment too soon. I'm looking forward to more than four big conference games a year.
- You'd think something as heteronormative as all the men bellowing something and the women screeching in response could not possibly be gay, but the Notre Dame pep band would prove you wrong on that.
- Excellent turnout by Notre Dame fans -- better than BC. Could this be the turning point for Notre Dame hockey fan interest? They get the Cinderella tourney run complete with overtime victory over Michigan, then get beat by BC of all teams in the final. Carrot... carrot... STICK STICK STICK. It's a great way to get hooked.
Separate list of confirmed sightings.
One of the super-cool things about the Frozen Four is it acts as a community gathering for the entirety of college hockey, which is just big enough to pack an NHL rink and just small enough for everyone to fit inside.
Jerseys or other paraphenalia representing the following teams were located by myself or compatriots:
(all but UAA.)
(I'm sure there were some NMU/LSSU fans there, but we didn't make any contact.)
Providence (including one guy with a killer handlebar mustache)
The Toledo Blade is causing a tizzy with a piece headlined "Mallett planning to transfer", but the actual texty bits are not so strident:
There is speculation out of Ann Arbor that freshman quarterback Ryan Mallett has decided to leave Michigan and will transfer to UCLA, according to a person close to the team.
CYA to the max, but probably not a good sign.
Perhaps you can take comfort in this?
In his diary entry dated Dec. 30, [MI RB Jonas] Gray writes, "If I had to guess where Terrelle goes, I would say he ends up at Ohio State. I could still see him at Michigan, but he's going to watch the Ryan Mallett situation closely. I know Mallett is going to decide after the (Capital One) bowl game and if he decides to transfer, Terrelle Pryor is going to Michigan. I have a real good feel for that."
RR is staying. He met with Eddie P earlier and issues have been resolved. Unless some other issue arise, he will be the coach at WVU next year. RR has a long way to go to restore my trust. But, the first step is the biggest.
Guy was dead on twice earlier; I see no reason to doubt something so unequivocal.
Update: Charleston Gazette:
"I met with him twice [Saturday]," Pastilong said of Rodriguez. "That's about all I can say. We talked about general issues within the football program."
Pastilong predicted "we'll know something very fast" in regard to Rodriguez's decision.
Further confirmation from this perspective.
EMO WEEK PRESENTS
This post's whiny music selection:
I Know It's Over, The Smiths
and this post's August Strindberg quote:
Happiness consumes itself like a flame. It cannot burn for ever, it must go out, and the presentiment of its end destroys it at its very peak.
|Appalachian State has eight in the box, and not even a soft eight: three linebackers and five DL. We get a fullback shuffle (yay! It's back!) and then our traditional zone left. Good blocking from everyone up front but the App St middle linebacker manages to get off the zone block (Kraus has disengaged from a successful interior zone) and grab Hart as he passes. OL grades out OK here.|
|I've come to hate this playcall a little bit because it's yet another instance of something that's totally predictable. Anyway: Manningham manges to slip past the first guy, who attacked arrington, but Schilling fails to cut his guy and he comes out to help recover, holding the gain down. (CA, 3)|
|M42||3||2||Weak I-Tight||Run||4||Hart||Zone left|
|Replay of the first play, basically: successfully executed Boren-Kraus zone block. This time Hart cuts back for the first.|
|M46||1||10||I-Form||Pass||16||Massey||PA TE Out|
|PA draw fake suckers the linebacker in coverage on Massey; they collide and Massey shucks him. Henne has time and finds him wide open for a nice gain. (CA, 3) Jesus... they're so intent on the run game that Massey is amazingly wide open.|
|FB takes a shuffle step right before the snap, this to the weakside of the formation. I know this play works, but Jesus. Let's just tell them we're going to run to the weakside? No matter. For some reason the App St DT on the playside is really late reacting, allowing the Boren-Ciulla zone block to blow him way off the ball. Ciulla peels onto a linebacker and Moundros has no one to block at all. Pure pwnage from Boren here. Hart passed him eight yards downfield.|
|Hole is between Long and Massey, again Moundros is decoration.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-0 M, 12 min 1st Q. This is how this is supposed to go: these 230 pound "defensive linemen" get obliterated. I wonder what happens later. I can't wait to find out! The thrill of discovery!|
|Henne does his check-w-fingers thing, getting AppSt to reveal a strongside run blitz. So Michigan goes to the weakside, again shuffling the fullback that way. Clever. This time the playside DT is quick off the ball and gets to Kraus before he can get doubled. No problem, this is a zone play, Kraus just pilots him upfield. But also quick was the weakside DT, possibly because the FB shuffle tipped him off on the playside, who evades Ciulla's cut block (-1 Ciulla) and fills the hole. Hart's attempted cutback is swarmed under.|
|The panacea! Originally a five-wide look but Hart motions into the backfield to pass block. Henne gets some pressure from the outside, stepping up and hitting Mathews on a crossing route. (CA, 3)|
|Somebody completely busts a blitz pickup... probably Boren. There are six guys at the line, one for each of the OL plus a guy hanging to the outside over Hart. The linebacker, lined up over Boren, blitzes as the DE drops off into coverage, but Boren sets up to block this DT. End result: three Michigan OL are blocking one DT, Hart correctly picks up the linebacker coming right up the middle of the field, and the backside linebacker is totally free. (PR, Boren -2) BONUS! Illegal formation on Michigan, declined.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 7-7, 9 min. Let's have a race. Inexcusable mental breakdowns: 2. Michigan failing because they're totally predictable: 1.|
|M48||1||10||Ace 3-wide||Run||0||Hart||Zone left|
|Kraus(-2) gets driven yards into the backfield. Unbelievable.|
|Both Minor and Hart are in the backfield; Hart motions out. Why? Henne takes a straight drop and then tosses a screen to Minor. It's well set up, though I wonder why Minor attempts to seek out the tackler at the end of the run instead of cut behind a blocker for more yards. Vision questions? (CA, 3) Nice block from Kraus(+1).|
|Manningham gets a step or two on his guy and is open for a potential touchdown; Henne underthrows it and allows the DB to make a play on the ball. (IN, 1)|
|O42||2||10||Ace 3-wide||Pass||Inc||Mathews||PA Waggle|
|AppSt blitzes right into this; Henne throws it away. (PR, 0)|
|The 15-yard out that Henne can throw that makes him an NFL prospect if you ignore the other issues of today. A max-pro set with seven blockers held in; Arrington gets open and Henne lays it in there. (DO, 3)|
|Infuriating call: eight in the box, corners in Herrmann-soft coverage, and we just run it right at them. Totally unblocked linebacker submarines Hart.|
ed; DT just manages to get a hand on Hart and trip him a bit; he maintains his balance but is in no position to put a move on the safety.
|Excellent protection. Manningham sits in front of the corner and hauls it in. (CA, 3)|
|Run right into a blitz and gets blown up. Their rock, our scissors.|
|Touchdown. Easy. (CA, 3)|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 14-7 M, 3 min 1st Q. IMBs: 2, FBTTP: 4|
|M20||1||10||Ace 3-wide||Run||4||Hart||Zone left|
|Unclear why this play doesn't work; think it's because the DT to the playside successfully holds near the POA and gets Hart to cut back. He dodges one tackler and makes a few yards by himself.|
|Again with the Hart as fullback and then Incredibly Surprising Motion. This time the AppSt corner is lined up nose-to-nose with Manningham; Michigan goes at him. One hideously uncalled pass interference call later, third down. (IN? CA? I don't even want to chart this. 0, anyway.)|
|AppSt rushes seven(!!!) guys and Henne freaks out. If he steps to his left a little bit he's got Jake Long blocking some dude and Hart picking up a guy coming through the middle. Instead he rolls out to the right, into one of the blitzers, and has to take a long orbital path before dumping the ball OOB. Textbook example of the pocket awareness criticism. Still: seven guys. (TA, 0)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 14-14, 12 min 2nd Q. Mmm, three and out versus Appalachian State. IMB: 3, FBTTP: 5.|
|Now starts the odd lack of Hart. This is sort of a zone play â€“ double on a DT with a linebacker peel â€“ but is definitely going nowhere but straight up the middle the whole way. Said double team works well; Moundros does okay and Minor goes N-S.|
|FB-shuffle weakside == run weakside. It looks like there should be a hole at first but things get jammed up. Minor hurdles a fallen Kraus and manages to lurch forward for the first.|
|Instead of seeing the first portion of this play we glance lovingly at Mike DeBord. It turns out to be a Manningham screen; he slips a guy and makes first down yardage. (CA, 3)|
|A dart. (DO, 2). Massey gets popped right afterwards.|
|FB-shuffle to side play goes to. This time the double comes from Long and Massey; Moundros buries a blitzer and Minor has an alley. Extraordinarily quick-filling safety comes up and holds this down, otherwise this is a first down easy.|
|Eight in the box. Odd. FB lines up on the weakside then sort of shuffles strongside. This is supposed to be some sort of counter based on the vectors of the FB and Minor... or I don't know what it is. It is incoherent, though. The blocking's all messed up and there's an unblocked guy right where Minor chooses to go. I can't even begin to sort out what the intent was here.|
|Corner does not bite on the pump or Manningham's route and makes this a very difficult ball to throw. Henne again a little short, allowing the corner to deflect it. (IN, 1)|
|O35||4||5||Shotgun 3-wide||Pass||Inc||Arrington||Deep out|
|AppSt again rushes seven; Henne just chucks it past Arrington. How about a slant or something? Do all of our pass routes have to take eighteen years? AppSt knows that we have no hot reads. They blitz with impunity. (harsh, but IN, 0)|
|Drive Notes: Turnover on downs, 14-21 AppSt, 6 min 2nd Q. IMB: still 3, FBTTP: still 4.|
|M33||1||10||Ace 3-wide||Pass||2||Massey||TE out|
|A checkdown. (CA, 3). I tend to get less exercised about this than most. Sometimes you have to check down.|
|Easy throw and catch. (CA, 3). Coverage in prevent-y mode.|
|Same play. (CA, 3)|
|Pump fake does not get the DB to bite as they go a little deeper here with a similar route. Henne throws it slightly behind, allowing the DB to get a hand on it. (Marginally CA, 1)|
|O40||3||1||Ace 3-wide||Run||5||Minor||Zone right|
|Arrington comes in, acting as something of a second TE to the strongside. Boren-Ciulla block is very good and creates a hole for Minor to get the first.|
|A little high but catchable; Mathews goes up and gets it. (CA, 2).|
|All out blitz into this draw. No chance.|
|Mathews does appear to be pretty good, at least. (CA,3 )|
|No one open, I guess. (TA) Could have dumped down to Minor for a first down, maybe a touchdown.|
|Drive Notes: FG(22), 17-28, halftime. In a glimpse of the disaster to come, the FG team lines up with only ten guys. IMB: 3, FBTTP: 5.|
|O39||1 >||10||I-Form||Run||11||Minor||Zone left|
|We actually run away from the strength of the formation after motioning the TE, catching their linebackers shifted away from the playside. This is very close to being no gain as Ciulla's guy hops over(-1 Ciulla) him when he goes for the chop block, but he can't quite get to Minor. Schilling and Boren (+1 each) both get second level blocks on linebackers, Minor cuts up smartly when the hole reveals itself, and it's ten yards.|
|Eighth guy in the box. Massey(-1) is stalemated a couple yards behind the LOS, which forces Minor to decide whether to take it inside or outside of him. Dunno what inside held, but probably not much. Outside doesn't, either, as Minor stiffarms a linebacker to get a couple yards.|
|Henne gets a blitzer, and though this is a screen he's completely unblocked and flies up the field. Still, rifling it 100 miles an hour at your tailback two feet in front of you is not good policy. It clangs off Minor's shoulder blades and ricochets into the air, but manages to get to the turf. (IN, 2)|
|Hits him right in the hands; dropped. Probable first down otherwise, definitely close enough to go. (CA, 3)|
|Drive Notes: FG(42), 20-28, 13 min 3rd Q. Execution errors. IMB: 5, FBTTP: 5.|
|M11||1||10||Ace 3-wide||Pass||1||Moundros||FB flat|
|We call a TO before this play. Which is the first one of the drive. And then, the play itself... I have no idea why a fullback flat route is a good idea here. App St has eight in the box. The linebackers are rolled up tight to the LOS. All three of them step forward on the snap â€“ despite no play action fake! -- and massey plows into one of them, then Henne throws it to Mark Moundros at the sidelines for a yard. So, in conclusion: seven of the App St defenders have just opted out of pass coverage and there is going to be no pass rush. Solution: one yard fullback flat. I captured this play just so you could all see it in its glory. It is wondrous. (CA, 2)|
|M12||2||9||Ace 3-wide||Pass||6||Manningham||Slip screen|
|App St all over this; Manningham reverses his field and manages to turn this into six. Why have we not thrown downfield yet on either drive this half?|
|Lots of time; Henne finds his second read. (CA, 3).|
|M26||1||10||I-Form Twins||Run||6||Minor||Zone left|
|Ciulla (+1) blows his guy way off the ball; Schilling (-1) falls at his feet uselessly. Moundros does okay on a filling linebacker as the gap to the backside opens up. Unblocked DE closes and gets enough of Minor to slow his progress. Minor does a good job of fighting for YAC.|
|M32||2||4||Ace 3-wide||Run||0||Minor||Zone left|
|Fumbles; never really got the handoff. One note... the App St linebackers are ridiculously overshifted to the strong side of the formation. We run there anyway. Henne clearly frustrated.|
|Drive Notes: Fumble, 20-31, 7 min 3rd Q. IMB: 6, FBTTP 5.|
|Has him; overthrows him. (IN, 0)|
|M28||2||10||Shotgun 3-wide||Pass||Inc||Massey||TE out|
|Henne forced to step up in the pocket as Ciulla(-1) is beaten but not enough for his man to come in and sack him. Henne's grabbed, steps up, starts running, and finds an open guy in Massey; throw is behind him. (IN, 1)|
|Pretty good coverage by this linebacker but there's a spot for Henne if he can hit it; he can't. Marginally CA... but (IN, 1).|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 20-31, 4 min 3rd Q. IMB: 6, FBTTP: 5.|
|Open; accurate; dropped. (CA, 3)|
|Same play. (CA, 3)|
|App St run blitzing hard to strong side, expecting a stretch. Instead it goes right up the middle. Kraus(+2) completely crushes his guy, just obliterates him. Moundros gets enough of a blitzer and Minor does a fine job of picking his way through traffic for the first down.|
|Straight eight in the box. Massey gets out on a guy; long has his guy under control; a charging linebacker comes up and meets Moundros. I'm not a huge fan of him yet. He submarines guys but rarely buries them. Again here he does this; Hart cuts back behind him. One chasing guy has been cut well by Schilling but another is still up. Hart does as well as he can, making two and then doing his Hart thing for a final three.|
|Hole this time shows between Schilling and Ciulla. At this point the Michigan line is really just mashing these guys. Schilling blows his man six yards downfield and by the time this play ends there's just a wad of players at the four with Hart sticking out one end.|
|This is just Hart being Hart. A guy gets playside of a guard and has him, but does not have him.|
|Hart offset; pass all the way. Henne fumbles the snap.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown (PAT failed), 26-31, EO 3rd. IMB: 8, FBTTP: 5. Pulling away.|
|Drive starts way in AppSt territory after bad punt and 15 yard facemask. Eight in the box; FB shuffle strong side; zone left. Front side is pretty jammed up here but1) Ciulla (+1) flat kills his guy and 2) we actually block the backside DE with Schilling; is this intended to go backside?|
|This time a FB shuffle to the weakside, where we run. Moundros gets a good pop on a LB right up the middle, where Hart follows, leaping a defender who's getting cut.|
|O20||1||10||Ace 3-wide||Penalty||-5||Kraus||False Start|
|Only the second time we run the waggle all game and it's the second time they blitz right into it. Are we tipping this? I dunno. Anyway, Henne gets chased and then throws the most inexcusable interception of his career. Throw it away. Awful. (BR, 0)|
|Drive Notes: Interception, 26-31, 12 min 3rd. IMB: 10, FBTTP: 6. I count the interception as both.|
|M24||1||10||I-Form Weak||Run||5||Hart||Zone left|
|No shuffle; we run FB side. Kraus(-1) gets beaten by a second level defender, who hits Hart a couple yards behind the LOS. Hart powers through the tackle attempt and that of another player for five yards that should have been a loss.|
|Weakside run. Intended POA is jammed with players; Hart manages to cut behind an awkwardly positioned Ciulla (actually facing away from the guy he's quasi-blocking). Schilling (+1) shoves a guy from behind, blocking off pursuit and eliminating both that guy and another trying to get to the ball; result is Hart in the secondary.|
|FB shuffle weakside. AppSt DE cuts up past Long and Kraus; Moundros has to take him in the backfield. He does, but the guy gets set up outside and prevents Minor from breaking contain. He cuts up into an unblocked linebacker. Ciulla is injured on this play; Ortmann enters and Schilling slides in to guard.|
|Boren(-1) gets beaten by the DT; Hart has to deal with him in the backfield. He gets around him and manages to burrow for a few.|
|Excellent protection; Mathews is covered very well on the cross but not well enough. (CA, 3)|
|FB shuffle weakside again; we run there. Hole is up the middle â€“ eight in the box â€“ and is pretty decent. Moundros' guy gets up off the block and makes contact three yards downfield; Hart drags him for three more. I don't like the way Moundros just sort of throws himself in the general direction of his targets.|
|Arrington lines up off the LOS.|
|Henne throws to a covered Mathews and has to force it in a tiny spot. Even if this is a catch it's for all of three yards. With time and only four rushers, he has to find someone else. (BR, 1)|
|Fine given the result, I guess.|
|Tries to fit this in a tiny spot between two guys. Massey is bumped before the ball gets there; this is interference as by the time the ball gets to Massey he's been spun 90 degrees. Mostly I'm focusing on a wide open slant for Arrington. (CA, 1)|
|Drive Notes: Turnover on downs, 26-31, 7 min 4th Q. IMB: 12, FBTTP: 6. This one's over.|
|M46||1||10||I-Form Twins||Run||54||Hart||Zone left|
|Kraus(+1) gets his guy sealed to the inside by himself, leaving Moundros and Long to block two Mountanieers, which they do. There's a gaping hole. Hart does the rest.|
|O3||Conv||3||Ace 3-wide||Run||1||Minor||Zone right|
|Minor slips; not that it matters much since this was getting overrun from the start.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown (PAT failed), 32-31, 4 min 4th Q.|
|O43||1||10||I-Form Strong||Run||6||Minor||Zone left|
|Kraus and Massey and Long create a solid crease for Minor, who runs through an arm tackle for a solid gain.|
|O37||2||4||I-Form Strong||Run||6||Hart||Zone left|
|Same play. Michigan gashing their line; Boren with a key block.|
|O30||1||10||I-Form Strong||Run||0||Hart||Zone left|
|Ortmann is given a tough assignment: block the DT inside of him. Instead he escorts him to Hart. Kraus has been beaten by the DT to his side; these two converge in the backfield and swallow this play.|
|O30||2||10||I-Form Weak||Run||5||Hart||Zone left|
|Massey lined up on the other side now. This is a stalemate on the frontside. Moundros comes in and plows a guy that Schilling is blocking, which takes out a linebacker in the wash, and opens up a hole on the backside for Hart to scoot into.|
|Completely inexcusable! You lead by one with 2:17 left and have two timeouts. Use one. There is no reason not to take a timeout here, and guess who can call them? Coaches. Inexcusable.|
|An uninspiring result, but there are only three receivers in the pattern and no indication of the availability of the others is made. There are good reasons to make this throw instead of chucking something questionable â€“ keep the clock running, get in better FG position, put yourself in a more makable first down. (CA, 3)|
|="8">Drive Notes: Blocked FG, 32-31, 2 min 4th Q. IMB +1.|
|Overthrows Mathews on a semi-open flag. (IN, 1)|
|Lofts up a punt Manningham runs under. (CA, 2)|
|Drive Notes: Blocked FG, 32-34, EOG.|
13 Inexcusable Mental Breakdowns, 6 Failures Because They're Predictable. And the worst, the absolute worst, was the delay of game right at the end. Mindboggling. Not one player or coach thought that calling a timeout there would be a good idea. Without that penalty, the weak four-yard Mathews route turns that into fourth and one. Michigan likely goes for it, plows over AppSt for a first down, and escapes.
I know. Be strong.
Yeah. Brief check on Michigan's drives and why they failed:
- Boren protection screwup leads to third and short sack.
- False start, uncalled PI on Manningham, Henne freaks out as App St blitzes seven.
- App St blitzes seven on fourth and five; we have no hot read.
- Field goal. They blitz into a draw on first down; on third down Henne throws it away. Could have tried Hart if he wanted.
- Field goal. Henne rifles a screen into Minor's shoulderpads on second down; on third down a slant is dropped by Mathews.
- Three straight inaccurate passes by Henne.
- Henne throws awful interception on first and fifteen.
- Illegal procedure, decent Hart run, throw to a covered Mathews for what would have been three yards, scramble, potential PI on a deep Massey post that could have been an open Arrington slant.
- Hart touchdown.
- Blocked FG as we attempt to run out the clock.
- Blocked FG after prayer.
There are four touchdowns and the two blocked FG drives weren't really anyone's fault. Other culprits are Justin Boren(1), Greg Mathews(1), and then some combination of Debord/Loeffler/Henne on six drives. I don't really blame Henne for either of the blitz-seven instances because the play design had no answer for that. When you have three receivers, all of whom are running long routes, you're screwed. But the rest of it is on his shoulders. He completed 50% of his passes and averaged 6.2 YPA against Appalachian State, and he didn't even get that much pressure.
Awful. Michigan tried one non-waggle play action pass all day against a team with eight guys in the box constantly; on a few plays the linebackers actually started moving towards the line of scrimmage on a pass play without the assistance of a playfake. Massey should have been wide open on seams all day, but this was never explored but once. The one time Massey did get targeted after play action he was immensely wide open and Michigan gained almost 20 yards. But who needs play action against Appalachian State? Whoops.
Also, whenever Michigan shuffled the fullback they ran to that side. Without exception. And whenever Junior Hemingway was in the game, they ran. Without exception. If every Michigan fan can tell you certain things obviously tip Michigan's plays, what are the chances opposing coaches don't know this? Zero. Everyone knows what Michigan is going to do. This is something we've heard every time a bowl opponent is asked about us for the past half-decade and probably longer. It's an arrogant waste of expectation because you expect that you won't need to fool the other team. It's like playing poker without ever bluffing.
Given Appalachian State's blitz directly into Henne both times we tried a waggle and irresponsible seven-man blitzes that worked, it's safe to say that Michigan's predictability goes beyond the really blindingly obvious crap we've been observing for years and into the realm of deep exploitability.
(Legend for this one.)Way too many INs, but many of those were bombs that were just off. One of the BRs should be worth like six points, though, as it was the horrible interception that killed a Michigan drive.
A lot of items in the "1" category, which is a ball that would be a circus catch if hauled in. That's not good.
What, if anything, can we take from this game that is positive?
Michigan did perform as expected in the run game, grinding Appalachian State for 246 yards at 6.2 per despite continually facing eight guys in the box. Guys were getting blown off the ball consistently and it was only on occasion anyone could step forth and attempt to deal with it. And this was with Michigan virtually ignoring play action and tipping the direction of their runs half the time. Aside from one bust on the first drive, Boren did very well. Schilling was also decent. It remains to be seen whether this means anything against a I-A rush defense, but given Oregon's performance against Houston last week it also remains to be seen whether Oregon actually has one. And that goes for Notre Dame, too.
Greg Mathews looks like he's comfortable with Henne; Massey also was involved in the offense a lot.
What does it mean for Oregon?
We should be able to score points on them given their initial performance against Houston -- and that was no fluke given last year's crumble and the many problems they had in the offseason -- pending Henne's accuracy returning. He had Manningham four or five times and never hit him until the second to last play of the game. You can't always expect bombs to find their targets, but Henne proved more accurate than that last year.
The Edmonton Oilers have agreed to terms with forward Andrew Cogliano on a three-year contract.
Cogliano, the Oilers' first round draft choice (25th overall) in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, has decided to forgo his final two seasons with the University of Michigan Wolverines (CCHA) and pursue his professional career.
At least he did it early. Michigan still waiting on Porter and Mitera. Kolarik is supposed to be a lock to return. It looks like it could be another year of struggle for the hockey team.
9 Michigan State
2 Notre Dame
15 Air Force
10 North Dakota
5 Boston College
12 St. Lawrence
First Round Adjustments
Michigan can't play MSU and Maine can't play UNH in the first round. Usually the way this goes is the committee will swap lower seeds in an attempt to give the 1 seed the easier draw -- and they display such charming faith in the exactitude of the PWR when they do so. So MSU will probably get swapped with North Dakota and Maine with Miami. We'll do this and use the actual seeds:
3 North Dakota
1 Notre Dame
4 Air Force
3 Michigan State
3 St. Lawrence
UNH is hosting so that bracket is in Manchester. The Clarkson bracket is a natural fit in Rochester. Now we're weighing Minnesota, UND, and Michigan versus ND and MSU for Grand Rapids. With Air Force providing a bit of a natural draw for the Colorado region and ND and MSU's proven ability to draw beans the last time they shared a GR regional, chances are we at least get to stay local for our zero percent chance of making the Frozen Four.
UPDATE: There's some odd sentiment in the Bracketology thread at USCHO. Some scenarios have us switching with BU instead of State with UND -- the upshot is that the GR regional is then 1 ND - 2 Mi - 3 NoDak - 4 Air Force, though I bet Air Force is the #4 in Denver no matter what -- for attendance purposes at both regionals. While we were just outplayed by Notre Dame, it wasn't a horror show like the Minnesota game and that would be much preferable.